Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When Ebola Hit Reston, Virginia, In 1989

Everything you want to know, or might not want to know, about the various strains of the Ebola Virus.

Yes, there are various strains:

Ebola Reston ( a mutated form of Ebola Zaire)
Ebola Marburg
Ebola Sudan
Ebola Zaire

Ebola Zaire is the deadliest with a 90% kill rate.

This article on DC Clothesline discusses a non-fiction book, New York Times bestseller- written twenty years ago by Richard Preston-  titled "Hot Zone" about the Ebola Reston crisis that took place in October 1989 in Reston, Virginia.

Ebola Reston – In October 1989, the community of Reston, Virginia went about their daily lives not realizing that a serious crisis was developing right in their back yards that would not be entirely resolved until March 1990. It was a serious calamity that could have wiped out the entire population. 

The people in the book are real, two victims’ names have been changed, and the narrative and dialog were masterfully reconstructed from interviews and memories of those who participated in the crises.

Hazelton Research Products, a division of Corning, Inc. was importing and selling lab animals. On October 4, 1989, the monkey house called Reston Primate Quarantine Unit located not far from Leesburg Pike, received a shipment of one hundred crab-eating monkeys (a type of macaque) from the Philippines, caught on the island of Mindanao. Two of the monkeys were dead in their shipping crates. By first of November, 29 of the monkeys were dead, most of them in Room F. The heating and air system had failed so it was assumed the deaths had occurred from ambient conditions. Each night more macaques died. By November 16, a tentative diagnosis was given “simian hemorrhagic fever.”

It's a fascinating article that describes what happened in 1989, and provides information on the origins of all the other viruses, including the gory details of what happens to an Ebola-infected body.

The rest here.

In case you want to buy the book, I get a few pennies.

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